Posts Tagged With: T. S. Eliot

Day 2441: It doesn’t matter

It doesn’t matter that

  • I left my phone home yesterday,
  • the Democrat field for President is so crowded and confusing,
  • I don’t know how many people will be coming to my first Fringe show in Edinburgh on August 19 or how it will turn out,
  • people come and go (sometimes speaking of Michelangelo),
  • the above line is a reference to a T.S. Eliot poem,
  • my son doesn’t get poetry,
  • my son isn’t getting much fresh air these days because he’s spending so much time programming in our basement,
  • I still haven’t decided what to include on my Fringe poster and my son is going to help me with any changes,
  • I’m singing my latest original song at an Open Mic tonight,
  • I don’t know how many people will be there or how it will turn out,
  • everybody’s getting older, including me and our cat Oscar,
  • I didn’t get enough sleep last night, and
  • different people have different opinions and different needs.

Why doesn’t it matter?  Because I’m still in the middle of “A Year of No Worry” and that has made all the difference.

It doesn’t matter that I’m sharing these particular photos today and it doesn’t matter what order they’re in:

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It doesn’t matter that when I sang my latest original song yesterday, somebody  said, “I tell everybody ‘I don’t know what planet she’s from, but it’s a good one.'”

It doesn’t matter that Michael and I danced to this song last night:

It doesn’t matter what comments you leave or how I express my gratitude to everyone who helps me create these posts, including YOU!

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 2318: Your favorites here!

When I was grocery shopping yesterday with one of my favorites (my boyfriend Michael from Boston), I saw this sign:

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My favorites are here, there, and everywhere.   Where are your favorites?

Some favorite thoughts about favorites are here!

  • It’s helpful to write a list of favorites — also called “a gratitude list.”  It’s one of my favorite ways to improve somebody’s mood.
  • It’s NOT helpful for parents to play favorites among their children.
  • Favorites is spelled “Favourites” in the United Kingdom.
  • Yesterday, one of my favorite people, who has the same kind of unusual heart as one of your favorite bloggers, asked me to be on one of his favorite podcasts about congenital heart conditions.
  • Last week, I started writing another original song about a favorite subject  (“Comfort”)  which I hope will be one of your favorites.
  • This past weekend, my favorite Michael and I watched the latest film by our favorites the Coen brothers and now The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is one of my favorites.
  • April is one of my favorite months, even though  one of my favorite poets — T. S. Eliot — said it was the cruelest one.
  • I encourage people not to play favorites with their feelings, but to accept all of them.
  • I try to capture favorite images every day with my camera and my latest ones are here!

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One of m favorites, these days, is dancing to favorite songs with my favorite Michael.  One of my favorite songs for dancing is here!

It’s not peculiar that I’m ending this post with thanks to all who helped me create it and (of course!) to you, because that’s one of my favorite things to do!

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 1558: April

April is

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April is also the month I’m sharing some songs about April (here, here, here,  here,  here, and here on YouTube):

 

What is April to you?

April thanks to all who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for being here, most likely in April.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 473: Depressed/Happy

Today’s title refers to another human dichotomy/continuum we all encounter. Examples of these:

Bad/Good.

Connected/Isolated.

Trusting/Not Trusting.

Difficult/Easy.

To battle our human tendency for all-or-nothing (or black-and-white) thinking, I find it helpful to identify dialectical experiences like these, recognizing they are much more than opposites —  they are also ranges of experiences. We are rarely just one OR the other. Instead, we are on a scale,  shifting up and down, as circumstances and our internal experiences change.

Yesterday’s dichotomy/range of experience (although it wasn’t in the title of the post, “M” words)  was Messy/Neat. Today’s is Depressed/Happy.

Since I often second-guess my writing (among other things), I’ve considered replacing the first word in today’s title with “Sad.”  I think the title is good enough, though.

So what did I want to tell you about “Depressed/Happy” today?

Well, we are in the middle of April, a month I SHOULD be happy, joyful, and ecstatic to encounter. Don’t you think so … considering how much I complain about winter?

However, I am not alone in encountering complicated reactions to April. As I’ve mentioned before, April has been called the “cruellest month  (by the poet T. S. Eliot in The Wasteland).

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(I found this image here)

What makes April — the rebirth of nature after the extended “death” of winter in these here parts* — so friggin’ cruel?

Well, when we are dealing with painful situations AND bad weather, at least we can hope that the advent of spring will bring some measure of relief, making things more bearable. However, once spring begins and beautiful days start to occur, what if we DON’T feel better?  Then, we no longer have the weather to blame;  and that can feel much, much worse.

Sure enough, statistics on suicide indicate that most suicides take place in spring.

springtime is usually referred to as “suicide season” because psychologists believe that spring “signifies rebirth or a change in circumstance for the better and when they find that nothing is getting better in their own lives.”[3]

— Wikipedia entry on “Seasonal effects on suicide.”

My beloved springtime: the cruellest season.

I’ve been dealing with my own depressed/happy range of feelings, since the advent of April.  Granted, many of my visits to the lower part of that continuum have to do with my personal encounters with illness and some losses/uncertainties at work.

Indeed, I have been experiencing something quite unusual for me: some actual moments of dread of the warmer weather.

Arrrghh!   Not THAT, Ann!  Not after this AWFUL winter.

I repeat, Arrghhh!!

I think I know what the remedies for my malady are, right now:

  • Getting outside, once I recover more from pneumonia.
  • Getting some required and appropriate springtime personal protective equipment. In other words, I need a few important pieces of seasonally appropriate clothes.   While I won’t need all the paraphernalia of winter protection, I still have to FIND ONE PAIR OF JEANS THAT FRIGGIN’ FIT ME (and a few other necessary items**).
  • Accepting what I am feeling, rather than focusing on what I SHOULD be feeling.

Here’s something I want to say about the other side of today’s continuum: Happy.

You may know that “Happy” is the title of a song that is EVERYWHERE right now, by Pharrell Williams.

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The song is a phenomenon.  It seems to be striking some sort of primal chord.  I have great respect for such explosions in popular culture — I think they’re important. I think they have something to show us, to teach us.

Perhaps you assume that I may now speculate a bit about the social relevance, importance, and learning opportunities inherent in Pharrell Williams’s mega-hit.

Nah.

However, I will tell you this: Earlier today, I discovered the site for his 24-hour video of this song, where you can find  a continual display of people singing and dancing “Happy”  throughout L.A. (as far as I can tell), synched to the time where you’re watching.

Since I’m not explaining this very well, you can check this out for yourself at 24hoursofhappy.com. I mean, why should I be alone in my visits there, people?

Just so you know, the song at that site has been playing the entire time I’ve been writing this post.

It makes me happy, to

  • hear that song and
  • see lots of people singing and dancing in public, since that has been (more and more, as I have travelled up the continuum of self-consciousness/confidence) my exercise of choice (before I got ill).

Now,***I can authentically write  that I am looking forward to getting out there, in the warming April weather, no matter how I’m feeling (or how capable I am of singing or dancing).

I just have one question:  What DOES it mean to feel like a room without a roof?

Well, I know this: It’s SOMEWHERE on the continuum of Depressed/Happy, that’s for sure.

Thanks to T. S. Eliot, to Pharrell Williams, to people who feel like a room without a roof, to those who feel like happiness is the truth, to my readers who know what happiness is to you, to everyone clapping along because that’s what they want to do, and to you — of course! — for dancing by here today.


* These here parts = The Northern Hemisphere

** Most importantly, I need things I can wear on my legs that are (1) professional and (2) comfortable. WHY IS THIS ALWAYS SO DIFFICULT? Granted, I have found the solution for the fall and winter months: all-cotton tights. What IS the solution for springtime?

*** Friday, 4/18/14, 4:13 AM Eastern

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Day 199: I dared to tweet some tweets

I’ve been tweeting!

That’s something new for me, this year. And starting anything new means excitement and adventure, but also overcoming The Fear of Screwing Up, a/k/a The Fear of Making a Fool of Oneself, a/k/a The Fear of Not Being Good Enough At Whatever The New Thing Is.

I started This Tweet Process two months ago, when I wrote a blog post called “To Tweet Or Not To Tweet (is that the question?” (here). Then, on a day where I wrote about Twitter again, I did venture to tweet, and the tweet was about the very venturing. I chose a literary allusion, harkening back to my English Major days, at an Old Ivy League School:

“Do I dare to eat a peach? No. Tweet? Yes.”

My targeted audience? I guess people who (1) have read T.S. Eliot, (2) have heard that quote, and/or (3) have some opinion about peaches.

The next tweet, three days later, was inspired when a Group Therapy Professional Organization started following me on Twitter. The tweet:

“I used to think that life was always High School, but now I think it’s always Group Therapy. Progress?”

That was also a Tweet Out/Shout Out to my loyal friend, Lawry (who not only attended Junior High School with me, but also the same Old Ivy League School). One day when we were in our 20’s, Lawry, who was having a reaction to some people’s immaturity, said, with disbelief, that it was like we were still in high school! I replied (with the full gravitas of age), “Lawry. Life is always high school.” Lawry loved that quote, which made me feel proud and witty.

So I figured, for that second tweet, I would use something that had worked well in the past (although I wondered whether it had aged as well as both me and Lawry).

My next tweet came three weeks later (the gap due to self-doubt about the merit of the previous tweets and/or my being overwhelmed by other matters.). This tweet was inspired by that day’s blog post, which had referred to having patience while sitting in traffic.

“Sitting in traffic is just like sitting on your living room couch, but with a better view. (Especially if you have cars in your living room.)

That day, I had some visions of becoming some sort of Multi-Social-Media Renaissance Gal, interweaving daily blogs posts and tweets in an intricate tapestry of Internet Interconnectedness.

I guess that vision didn’t stick, because a week went by, and the next tweet was this:

“I’m working too hard, at the hospital where I was born. If it kills me, at least that would be a nice narrative arc.”

As I analyze this today, this tweet seems to combine a kind of Cry For Help with detached irony and that English Major in me. I wrote it on July 4th, when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by work (as I wrote about here and here.)

I’ve been working on reducing stress and increasing self care. Working on it, right now.

The next tweet came two weeks later, on a Saturday, where I was taking a breather and eating lunch at a new restaurant, on my own. (I like going to restaurants on my own, which comes in handy in lots of situations.)

When I was in my late 20’s, I had a conversation with a friend about eating in restaurants alone. He said, “Wow! I could never do that. I’d be afraid that people would look at me and think, ‘What a loser!’ I said to him, “What would you think if you saw somebody else in a restaurant eating alone?” He said, “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe, that they were a food critic, or somebody who had a really interesting life, who has to travel a lot for business …..” He stopped, startled. I said, “See?” (This may be the first instance of my using The Double Standard Method to help change somebody’s self-judgment.) (See here for that antidote, among others, for Cognitive Distortions.)

Anyway, where was I, before the digression in italics? Oh, yes, my tweet, last weekend, as I was sitting in a restaurant, by myself, hungry, blowing on the too-hot food, waiting for it to cool down:

“Something I never see on “Chopped” or “MasterChef”: tasters needing the food to cool down first. Do food judges have asbestos mouths?”

What I notice about that tweet, right now (besides the possibly misplaced “:”): I was wondering, at the time, whether other people blow on their food to cool it down or whether that was something “weird” or “uncouth” of me. (Arrghh! All those self-judgmental, doubting thoughts!)

Also, I watch a lot of cooking shows with my bf, who was a professional cook for many years.

OMG! Here’s something else I’m noticing about that tweet, RIGHT NOW. MasterChef re-tweeted that tweet! I had no idea. My first re-tweet, and a celebrity one, no less!

Where was I, after that exciting discovery/digression? Oh, yes, my chronological list of Ann’s Tweets. (It’s coming to an end, dear reader. I promise.)

After a 3-day Twitter Break, I had a burst of three tweets in one day! That was yesterday. I must have been feeling more confident/not caring about Tweet Perfection.

Tweet # 1, in the morning:

What happens when you put the earphone labelled “L” in your right ear and vice versa? Does your brain get scrambled?”

I tweeted that because I was preparing for my daily dose of Personal Medicine — my walk-to-work-while-listening-to-music, making sure that I was putting my headphones on the “right way,” and then asking, “Why?”

Another note about that last tweet: Beth, a wonderful woman from my high school, answered it, on Facebook, like so: “Maybe it comes out as Hebrew!” I thought that was hilarious.*

Tweet #2, on my way home from a long-overdue therapy appointment:

Everything we do is a rehearsal for something else we’ll be doing in the future. And there’s only one closing performance.

More background about that one: I’m in the middle of helping to plan a 43rd year high school reunion (which is coming up this Saturday). It’s not going perfectly, of course, and it sometimes helps me to think of this (as well as many other things) as a rehearsal for the next one.

One more thought about that tweet: as my dear friend Maria pointed out to me, when we were in our 20’s, I think about death a lot (which is becoming more age appropriate, all the time).

Tweet #3 (and the final tweet of this post, ladies and gentlemen) was inspired, last night, by this beautiful conure, at a local pet store, whose eyes were twitching as it was sleeping:

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“Since humans dream of flying, maybe birds dream of driving a car.”

One last thing: My also beautiful (in many ways) ex-sister-in-law, Deborah, answered back to that one on Facebook: “maybe riding a bike.” I wrote back, “The ecologically aware ones, yes.”

Okay, that wraps up this post for today. May we all dare to tweet some tweets, speak our minds, make some jokes, and eat at a restaurant by ourselves!

Thanks, everybody.

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* English is written left to right; Hebrew, right to left.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 32: February is the coolest month.

I tried different titles for this post.

Examples:

February is the cruelest month. (It can be very icy, cold, and miserable, but T.S. Eliot already grabbed that honor for April.)

February is the shortest month. (Can’t argue with that.)

February is the worst-spelled month. (I mean, come on!  What IS the deal with that goofy silent “r”?)

But I settled on the title “February is the coolest month” for three reasons:

(1) It is quite cold, at least where I live.

(2)  It rhymes with “cruelest” (for a little literary echo).

(3)  For me, it meets the other definition of coolest, because … it’s my birthday month.

And, dear reader,  I DO think that February is the best month — the coolest of them all.  I guess that’s because I’ve managed to separate any negative feelings about aging from my experience of my birthday.

What I’ve done with my fears about aging is to strategically place them elsewhere.  On New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve is when I get all caught up with the passage of time, fears about my own mortality, and all that other fun stuff.  As a result, if I’m going to get moody and freaked out about getting older, I save it up for New Year’s Eve.  Who knows how I’ll feel on December 31 of This Year of Living Non-Judgmentally; in all the  judgmental years leading up to this one, I’ve really disliked it.

So while this strategy may be unfair to an innocent, end-of-year date, it allows me to continue to enjoy my birthday.  Freaking out about where the hell time is going?  New Year’s Eve.  Fun and excitement and the expectation of cake?  That would be my birthday.

I’m glad that  I’ve been able to maintain some consistency of joy each year so far, looking forward to my birthday.

And I’m glad the coolest month is here.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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